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Students who experience academic success early are far more likely to be promoted and earn diplomas. Research shows that students who are promoted to tenth grade on time are 3.5 times more likely to graduate than their peers who are held back. More than 80 percent of students who pass ninth grade graduate from high school; only 15 to 20 percent of ninth-grade repeaters graduate.

Impact on Grade Promotion

Talent Development’s intensive ninth-grade intervention consistently increases the number of students successfully promoted to tenth grade. For example, in each of the two years since it opened, the Civitas School in Baltimore promoted 100% of its ninth-graders. W.E.B. Dubois High School in its first year of full-scale implementation of Talent Development increased its ninth-grade promotion rate from 36.8% in 2008-2009 to 52.0% in 2009-2010 and 10th grade promotion rate from 49.4% to 64.7%.

Reducing Dropouts

The ninth-grade is a difficult year for many students. Not making a smooth transition into high school and not being able to pass core academic courses lead many students to drop out. The following two examples show evidence of TD reforms’ impact on reducing the number of students who drop out.

  • At Baltimore Talent Development High School, the one-year dropout rate remained below the citywide average dropout rate (that includes selective magnet and charter schools) in each year since its inception in 2004-2005 and reached 2.3% in 2009-2010, almost half the citywide average of 4.1%.
  • At Chicago Talent Development High School in 2009-2010, the one-year dropout rate was 3.3%, almost one-third the system average of 8.5%.
  • In Syracuse, the four-year dropout rate for the Class of 2010 was lower than that of the class of 2009 in three out of four schools that have been in operation for at least five years, reducing the system-wide rate by about 3 percentage points. Given that Talent Development has been implemented for only one year and students who were in their senior year in 2010 received only one year of intervention, this impact is expected to increase as the following cohorts of students are exposed to the intervention for longer periods.

Impacting Graduation Rates

In today’s society, a high school diploma not only marks a rite of passage into adult life, but also has a direct effect on students’ potential earnings, health, and life chances. Following are examples of high schools that documented increases in graduation rates as a result of implementing Talent Development reforms.

  • In Manual High School in Illinois, the graduation rate increased from 73.7% for the Class of 2008 to 79.4% for the Class of 2009 and reached 90% for the Class of 2010.
  • At West Philadelphia High School, the graduation rate increased from 51.86% for the Class of 2009 to 67.59% for the Class of 2010.
  • In Syracuse, the four-year graduation rates increased in each of the four high schools with graduating classes, increasing the system-wide rate from 50.6% in 2009 to 57.5% in 2010.